Whether it’s the first time or the second, third, etc. losing your job is never easy.
Whether you were on probation period or worked for the company for years, it’s a blow in your gut.
Whether you liked the job or not, you feel it’s unfair and you didn’t deserve it.
The news is always shocking and in most cases it’s a surprise. You didn’t expect it. Or you may have expected it but didn’t think it will be you. (Let me tell you, no one ever thinks it will be them. Ever.)
Because why you?!
You shouldn’t take it personally. It’s not a deliberate act against you, it’s not because they wanted to see you gone. It’s the process and it’s a purely business decision. You should move on, really. This is a new beginning!
Now move this nonsense out of the way and let’s see what you can actually do to save your sanity and rebuild your self-esteem so you can bounce back on the job market when it’s time.
Let the emotions come. Cry on a sympathetic shoulder, let it be your partner, your family or friends or even your pet. Let the frustration, the anger, the pain out, even by venting to a shop assistant or the old man at the bus stop. Throw a tantrum in private like toddlers (and do all the full show, squirming). Punch in the air or box a pillow. Or scream into one.
Let yourself feel, be sad and disappointed, rejected or misunderstood. Mourn the loss. Because this is a loss. If your feelings are re-occuring, give yourself permission to cry daily. Don’t let yourself slip into misery though. Cry for 15 minutes, bring everything up and then stop. Why? Because it’s now time to…
#2 Face the situation.
Although your manager/HR told you everything you need to know, it is just natural to not remember after the shock.
You must have been given the details and future actions in writing. (If not, ask for it.) Possibly several documents and emails.
Sit down, with clear head, and read them through. Read them again if needed and if you have questions or something is not clear, ask the HR consultant or your boss to clarify.
Important details to note:
- What are the phases of the redundancy? (garden leave, furlough, consultation, notice period?)
- How long is the consultation period and what can you do during? (Are there premises/facilities/services you can still access?)
- When does your employment end?
- What payments are you due and when?
- What are the conditions of the termination? (Do you need to wait until the end of the notice period before you can accept a job? Would you be entitled to your severance payment if you were to start working before the notice period ends?)
- Are there any important deadlines you need to keep?
Once you’re clear on what the next steps are, you can…
#3 Figure it out.
What you want, that is. Do you want to take a break? Be with your family and friends and breathe? Or go volunteering for a cause you always cared about? Would you rather go back to work as soon as possible? The same field or you’re ready for a change? Do you want to use this time to study something? The opportunities are limited only by you and your financial situation.
#4 Fill in the missing pieces.
Once you decided about which way to go, it’s time to put ideas into actions.
- Be active and pro-active if you are taking a break.
- If you need rest, make sure you schedule proper bed time and some exercise. Take care of yourself mentally by relaxing/meditating regularly or use a mindfulness app. If needed, attend counselling.
- Reach out to people. Actively look for the company of your loved ones. Meet new friends by picking up new hobbies. (Use meetup to look for just about any group!)
- Look up that charity or cause you always felt strongly about.
- Update your CV, your LinkedIn profile, check out jobsites, reach out to recruiters. Remind yourself what your strengths are. Remember what situations you felt confident in. Write a few cover letters. Apply.
Whatever your decision was about your (near) future, give yourself a tap on the back. Literally. Pat your back and thank yourself. Feel silly, eh? Now think of someone close to you and imagine how you would encourage them and pat them on the back. Done? Now pat yourself on the back, again, as if you were that friend.
Repeat as necessary.
There is no limit or prescription of how long these phases should last. It’s unique for you and it’s unique for each situation.
‘But, how can I be successful?’, you may ask. Let me tell you something. You were not a failure to begin with!
One thing I learnt after my second redundancy – and I mean I understood it wholeheartedly – is that it’s not you who was made redundant. It is the position you filled in.
You’re still worthy.